It’s funny how you look back on things sometimes and wonder what you were doing at the time.  I spent almost 19 years in Canada, and almost all of it within easy distance of a Canadian Pacific mainline.  In that time I think managed to only get a few shots of the SD40-2Fs, or Red Barns as many railfans know them.   CP Rail owns 25 of them, and for a few months they seemed to be quite prolific in the Medicine Hat/Crowsnest Pass corridor.   The halfway point of course is Lethbridge, my residence for five and a half years.  Not sure if it was due to a lackadaisical attitude, or the proverbial “it’ll run again” belief that plagues so many of us, but I never made the effort to go out more and get them.  Even the shot below was a case of literally stumbling on the situation.

I had taken my wife up to Calgary so that she could fly to Virginia to be with her family in a time of crisis.  I was feeling a bit down, partially because she was gone, and partially because I wasn’t able to go with her for support.  I had taken my camera with me, as a good friend had asked me to stop and take a few photos of the grain elevators in the area for a Train Simulator project.  By the time I arrived back in Lethbridge, I had been in the car for around 6 hours between the trip up to Calgary and back.  I was tired from the lack of sleep the night before, had a headache due to the lack of caffeine and more than a little hungry.  As I approached the Westside Drive turnoff on Highway 3 I could see some grain hoppers heading east.  “What the heck!” I thought, “it’s only 5 minutes out of my way.  I’ll get the shot at University Drive and head home.”

Pulling the Malibu over opposite the Burnco gravel plant, I walked across the field owned by the City of Lethbridge that was used for snow dumping, and up a small embankment, my head pounding with every step.  I squinted up at the sky through my sunglasses, seeing the high-cloud and thought “is it worth it?”  A few minutes later, the empty grain arrived.  “Just another couple of GE’s on the point again… GREAT!” I mumbled, took the photo and stumbled back to the car.  Five minutes later I walked in the door and made a sandwich and a well-deserved coffee.  An hour or so later I downloaded the photos on the camera, which included this one.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the second loco, which I mistook for an AC4400 in my caffeine-deprived haze, was in fact an SD40-2F in their original CP paint scheme.  Maybe it was worth it after all.

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